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Sad Beautiful Tragic

RED (2012) | RED (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“Sad Beautiful Tragic” is a song on Taylor’s fourth studio album, RED (2012). It was written on a ukulele on Taylor’s tour bus after a show on the “Speak Now World Tour“. Taylor was reflecting on a failed relationship that was “sad, beautiful and tragic.” The re-recording of the song, “Sad Beautiful Tragic (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on November 12, 2021 on the album RED (Taylor’s Version).

Background

Taylor wrote “Sad Beautiful Tragic” alone and co-produced it with Nathan Chapman. She explained the meaning of the song to Billboard:

«‘Sad Beautiful Tragic’ is really close to my heart. I remember it was after a show and I was on the bus thinking about this relationship that ended months and months before. The feeling wasn’t sadness and anger or those things anymore. It was wistful loss. And so I just got my guitar and I hit on the fact that I was thinking in terms of rhyming; I rhymed magic with tragic, changed a few things and ended it with what a sad beautiful tragic love affair. I wanted to tell the story in terms of a cloudy recollection of what went wrong. It’s kind of the murky gray, looking back on something you can’t change or get back.»

Taylor Swift
Taylor said that she only recorded the song once because the first take captured the emotion she felt while writing the song perfectly. She also didn’t want to add too much production to the track in order to keep the listener’s focus on the lyrics.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Long handwritten note deep in your pocket
Words, how little they mean, when you’re a little too late
I stood right by the tracks, your face in a locket
Good girls, hopeful they’ll be and long they will wait

[Chorus]
We had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair

[Verse 2]
In dreams, I meet you in warm conversation
We both wake in lonely beds, in different cities
And time is taking its sweet time erasing you
And you’ve got your demons
And darling, they all look like me

[Chorus]
‘Cause we had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair

[Bridge]
Distance, timing, breakdown, fighting
Silence, the train runs off its tracks
Kiss me, try to fix it
Could you just try to listen?
Hang up, give up, and for the life of us we can’t get back
A beautiful magic love there
What a sad, beautiful, tragic
Beautiful, tragic
Beautiful

[Chorus]
And we had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair
We had a beautiful magic love there
What a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair

General Information
AlbumsRED
RED (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedOctober 22, 2012
Written2011
Re-ReleasedNovember 12, 2021
StudioPain in The Art (Nashville)
GenreSinger-Songwriter
Length4:44
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducersNathan Chapman (original)
Christopher Rowe
Paul Mirkovich
Taylor Swift
RED CHRONOLOGY
Holy GroundSad Beautiful TragicThe Lucky One
Hidden Message
While you were on a train
Song Artwork
Lyric Video
Taylor's Version
Original Audio